Monday, December 22, 2014

Women's Night of Worship

God continues to stretch and grow me through my role as a worship leader. In addition to leading worship at church most Sundays, I've had the opportunity to lead worship at three Women's Nights of Worship. The first one happened last June before a dear friend left. It was really her brain child. She wanted to get together with women in her community to worship prior to moving back to the States. So we did. Then, my friend Dyan and I decided we should do another one in August after everyone who had travelled was back. And finally, we hosted the third event on November 30th.

 Around thirty women came to worship and pray through the prayer stations we had set up. One station was dedicated to meditating on the story of Jesus birth. We took time to read the accounts of Jesus birth and pondered the thoughts and emotions of each person in the story. What was Mary thinking and feeling? Joseph? The shepherds? The wise men? The animals?

Another was focused on praying for those who do not know the Lord. We identified those people in our lives and wrote their names on paper, adding them to a chain when we had prayed for them. We also took time to think through areas in our own lives that needed to be brought again to Jesus.

The last station was to choose a picture of a Young Life staff member in the ebola stricken countries in West Africa and pray Psalm 91 over them. We covered those faithful servants of God in prayer.


And of course we had lots of amazing food and fellowship.

Even though Dyan has left for home assignment until August (tear!), 'we' still plan to have a few more of these throughout the year. It was a beautiful night of worship, prayer and fellowship. My only regret is that I didn't record any of the songs as these women sang their hearts out to God! WOW! It was truly awesome and a meaningful way to 'kick-off' the holidays season.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Black beans, parmesan cheese and chocolate chips.

Friends, we are so excited...

We have a group from Grand Rapids Christian High School coming the first week of January! We can't wait to show these students both the beauty and brokenness of Dar Es Salaam and engage with them as they process the work of God here and in their own lives. We LOVE having groups and sharing this experience with them.

Not going to lie - we also love them because they get extra luggage space, and that means we get a few goodies from home!! :) We're filling a few suitcases with school/church items, and giving some space to friends who are in need of particular things. BUT have saved a little room for our family as well.

So if you're out at Meijer and want to pick any of these items up, we'd love you forever & ever. Let us know and we can connect you with someone coming on the trip to hand it off to.

Our list:

* 6 bags of dried black beans
* 2 containers of parmesan cheese
* 3 bags of chocolate chips
These three are the top of my list EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. :)

* 20 packages/containers of Crystal Light drink mix OR Kool aid  - various flavors, but several lemonade (this is for my Tanzanian friend who loves Kool aid!)
* Ziploc bags - 1 box quart size, 1 box gallon size
* 2 containers Italian seasoning (again, for my friend)
* Socks for Isaac (a package of 3 ankle athletic socks- he wears size 1-2)
* Tennis shoes for Isaac - he needs size 2 - used it great!
* Medications: Aleve, Tums, chewable Immodium, Children's tylenol, Zantac
* notecards. I would love packages of cute note cards to write notes to people.
* iTunes gift cards to buy movies/music
* hand-me down summer dresses size 4-5T for Hope. I've got plenty of other clothes for her, but running short on dresses.
* non-Chocolate candy - marc loves it. skittles, starburst, etc.

Thanks friends! I miss Meijer. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday - THANK YOU!

As today is "Giving Tuesday", we wanted to take a minute to THANK YOU for your giving!

1st fundraiser on December 1st, 2012
Two years ago yesterday was our first fundraiser for our move back in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We had a craft show at Plymouth Heights CRC and raised over $2,000 to jump start our fundraising process.

Since then, many people have partnered with us through giving, whether special or monthly gifts, and we are so completely grateful for your support.

Your support goes far beyond what you may know.  Your support helps us pay rent, utilities, buy food, put gas in our car, yes...but here are a few ways your giving continues to give that you might not know about...
Eva and Hope 'helping' Elnert make tortillas.

* Your support pays the monthly wage of 2 employees. Their work for us is a huge asset to freeing up our time to engage in ministry. Elnert is our house helper and does our cleaning, wash, dishes and periodically helps with the girls. She is 24, married and has a almost 2 year old son. She did not have full time work prior to us coming. Hosea is our gardener - he cares for the proprty, helps with the dogs, opens and closes our gate, runs errands for us and is incredible with the kids - they love to play with him! He and his wife, Lucy live on our property and we are so thankful for them! Hosea has a big and generous heart, and I have heard often of times when he and his wife are giving some of their salaries to help people who are sick, buying mosquito nets for families without, or just using their hard-earned income to take a bus over 4 hours to go into a small village and preach the gospel. Providing work for him allows him to engage in ministry.

Lucy and Angie during a Swahli lesson
* Your support pays for my langugage lessons. Lucy, (Hosea's wife, who lives on the same property) sits with me and my friend Angie for 9 hours a week to help me with my Swahili. She, like her husband, has a huge heart and I consider both of them local missionaries. She has become a very dear friend and sister in Christ. Again, by supporting us, we are able to provide a bit of additional work for Lucy, which helps them make their monthly trip to the village to minister.

The Life Group we co-lead on Wednesday Evenings
through our church, God's Tribe.
In our group we have 6 countries represented: Tanzania,
Kenya, England, Zimbabwe, Canada and America.

* We tithe to our local church, God's Tribe. This church plant is just over a year old and is very much a toddler church, but is faithful in preaching the gospel each week. Your support is also supporting the work and ministry of this church.

* Your support allows other missionary families to engage in their God-given callings. Many, many, missionaries who live in remote areas are given only one option for schooling for their children: homeschooling. This is a viable and great option for some. HOPAC is strategically planted, however, in a large city which becomes the center for many missions agencies. This allows parents of these children an amazing, Christ-centered option for their kids for school.

If you're a parent, take a moment and think about what you could NOT do each day if your child's school did not exist and you had to homeschool....

LOTS, right?

Now, think what a blessing it is to have an international Christian school for these families! The missionaries who send their kids to HOPAC are doing amazing work: Young Life across 20+ countries in Africa, Doctors, Survey work (figuring out where the unreached people groups are in order to send new missionaries there with the gospel), local pastor training through theological education, ministering to the poor through kids clubs, sports clubs, and relationship building, teaching English to future teachers, teaching skills to women in order to give them sustainable work, drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, church plants, etc.

YOU are supporting these missionaries as you support us. Think of the lives that are being touched by all these missionaries here in Dar - YOU are partnering with them! What an amazing gift!

I'm sure there are ways your giving is touching even more lives and ministries - unseen ways - even to us on the field. I know it blessed us and brings joy to have so many partnering with us in the work God has called us to do here.

Now here comes the other side of this: We're still in need.

In the next few months, we are going to need to pay another 6 months rent (most of this is saved so far, need $800 yet), self-employment taxes (possibly around $8000- $9000) and we really, really, really hope to come 'home' for 8 weeks or so next summer, but that requires plane tickets (around $7000). We have not met our montly budget once since being here, despite reducing it twice. We've used every penny of our own savings. We're confident the Lord is asking us remain and continue on, but we need help in doing so.

Specifically, we are in need of an additional $1500 in monthly support and also in need of some annual or special gifts. We have some who give $5 a month, and others who give $200 a month. We have some who have given $20 a year and others who have given $1000. Would you consider supporting us with any amount this giving Tuesday or in the upcoming year?

If so, please click HERE and select "Missionaries - Africa" and then "Driesenga, Marc".

Posts and requests like these are difficult. We want to just share the stories and the great work that God is doing here in Dar, but fundraising is a part of our job as well. It's humbling, it's overwhelming, it's faith-building and it's truly a joy to watch the Lord provide for our needs.

Thank you for truly being our partners in ministry.

Asante sana, marafiki. Mungu ni Mwema.
(Thank you very much, friends. God is good.)